SRINAGAR: After Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed the Opposition in both Houses of Parliament for raising the issue of continued detention of three former Chief Ministers, the local administration booked Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and several other former ministers and lawmakers under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA). The local administration booked two important leaders of National Conference and PDP, Ali Muhammad Sagar and Sartaj Madni, respectively under the PSA. Three-time J&K Chief Minister and parliamentarian from Srinagar, Farooq Abdullah is already under detention under PSA.

With the slapping of PSA on Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, opposition parties have slammed the BJP for its allegedly “anti-democratic policies” in Jammu and Kashmir. Recently, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs directed the local administration to give the latest assessment on the ground situation in Kashmir, especially about the prospect of releasing prominent mainstream political leaders, including Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. A top official told The Sunday Guardian that they have recommended release of all the mainstream political leaders and hundreds of activists as the situation in the valley is calm and conducive, “without any chances of violence”.

After the recommendation, the Centre directed the administration in Kashmir to release Sajjad Gani Lone, People’s Conference chief, and Waheed Parra, PDP leader. Hence, Lone and Parra were shifted to their homes though with restrictions, officials told this reporter.

However, PM Modi slammed the three former Chief Ministers in both Houses of Parliament for giving seditious statements. The PM even quoted their statements and said that these statements cannot be tolerated. Soon after his speech, everything got reversed in Srinagar. A high-level meeting was held and fresh assessment was sent to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and cautioned the government about the possible trouble the release of the detained mainstream political leaders may cause.

Prime Minister Modi, while justifying the continued arrest of former Chief Ministers, especially Omar Abdullah, quoted Omar Abdullah as saying that if the special status of J&K is removed, it would “bring an earthquake that would separate Kashmir from India”. The Omar Abdullah-led National Conference has denied that Abdullah had given any such statement.

By late evening of Thursday, Mehbooba Mufti received information from the government, giving details of her being arrested under PSA. Her daughter Iltija Mufti confirmed the slapping of PSA on her mother and described the government action as autocratic. In a recent television interview, PDP patron and former minister Muzzafar Hussain Beigh said that Mehbooba Mufti had provoked New Delhi by her “irresponsible anti-national statements to downgrade J&K state into two Union Territories”. Beigh is known to be close to Union Home Minster Amit Shah. He was recently awarded with Padma Bhushan.

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